Meet Rian

Meet Rian

Meet the newest addition to our family, Rian Desai Patel. He arrived at 8:50pm on March 29, 2014, weighing 6 pounds 9 ounces and measuring 20 inches. We are still getting to know each other and with each passing day, our unconditional love for him only multiplies. Rian, meaning king, is lean and long and quite the mover and shaker. He loves showering with us over his whale bathtub. He stares at you like he’s known you for ages. His most joy-inducing trait? His involuntary smiles while he is sleeping. Those make me melt every time and help immensely when I’ve reached the height of my sleep deprivation. Sweet Rian, we feel so lucky and blessed to have you in our lives.

Photo: Rian, day 1, with Maithil

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For All The Working Moms

For All The Working Moms

This working mom’s open letter to Gwyneth Paltrow made my morning. I tend to really like Gwyneth but this is clearly not her shining moment. Perhaps I should give her the benefit of the doubt, with her recent divorce and all. I will soon be a working mom and somehow making millions to shoot a movie (plus not having to really worry about childcare and healthcare) does not even come close to comparing to the day-to-day balancing act of being a “regular” working mom. Gwyneth, the grass does always seem greener on the other side. (But, in this case, I doubt it is.)

Image from Cricket’s Circle

 

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Stop That!

Stop That!

Last night, Maithil and I got to talking about how busy our lives have become. Of course we have visited this topic many times (especially in the midst of a hectic weekend), but we have never outlined actual steps to streamline our to-do lists in an effort to actively manage our stress levels. This week, we are making a manageable priorities list and planning our weekend well in advance. We will only add on last minute events/errands to our weekend list if both of us agree that it is a must. The weekend also has time baked in for some personal, alone time (time to go to the gym, read, etc.). I am curious to see if we are able to stick to our outlined plan and if it helps us feel a little less crazed.

Our conversation also made me realize that at times, stress is self-induced and so many issues can be resolved if we stopped doing things like trying to make things perfect or worrying too much. This list of 30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself really helps put things into perspective. There are a few on here that I didn’t even realize that I was doing, though I clearly am.

How do you deal with stress or not having any downtime or time for yourself? Here are 5 simple ways to stay healthy when you are stressed (also great for when you have a newborn/kids, when you have a super busy week/month, when you are travelling, when you are playing catch-up with your schedule).

Photo: The view from our villa in Antigua, our honeymoon destination. Nearly a week of rest, relaxation, and absolutely no stress.

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Yeast, Cake, or Filled: Doughnut Plant

Yeast, Cake, or Filled: Doughnut Plant

As a kid, my only reference for a doughnut was Dunkin’ Donuts. I discovered Apple Cider, farm fresh doughnuts when I went apple picking as a high schooler. In college, my doughnut vernacular expanded even more, fully understanding and appreciating the differences between the cake and yeast versions of this treat. In the past couple of years, I have noticed the rise in doughnut varieties, especially in NYC (home of the cronut craze). My favorite spot in the city is Doughnut Plant. They have a slew of yeast, cake, and filled doughnuts, Tres Leches and Blackout being my treats of choice. Although both are cake doughnuts, they are surprisingly airy and moist. Plus, they are free of trans fat, eggs, preservatives, and artificial flavorings and colors. Craving one yet? I surely am.

the wall decor

the wall decor

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Blow Dry Like A Pro

Blow Dry Like A Pro

As someone who has grown up with curly hair, I have always been slightly envious of those who have voluminous straight or wavy hair. I have grown to love my curls over the years, especially after I figured out the right products and the right kind of haircut (I’ve suffered through many caret cuts and fought frizz in my quest for the perfect products). One of my favorite beauty guilty pleasures is getting my hair blown out after a haircut or for a special occasion; it always adds a little pep-in-my-step when I leave the salon. My goal is to eventually master the salon blow out at home. Some of my girlfriends who have been straightening their hair since grade school (I remember when flat-ironing was THE thing to do) have their blow dry routine down to a T. But, as a novice, it takes me a few hours and a ton of energy (my arms always feel so tired afterwards). The worst part? It never looks as great as a salon job.

Recently, I came across this tutorial which seems very promising. Plus, how gorgeous is the color of her hair? I am curious to try it to see if my results even come close to this.

Do you have a blow dry routine? What tools and products do you use?

Photo credit: my brother-in-law (at a family party); Hair cut and blow out by Keelin at Glen Goldbaum 72 Salon

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Fruit and Nut Dark Chocolate Bark

Fruit and Nut Dark Chocolate Bark

I am a chocolate lover. Dark chocolate to be more specific. Over the holidays, when sweets were plentiful, I made a fruit and nut dark chocolate bark reminiscent of one of my favorite childhood chocolate bars, Cadbury Fruit & Nut. Now, in the midst of my third trimester, at times I crave a piece of this sweet and salty bark creation. Who am I kidding? I’d crave this stuff even if I wasn’t pregnant… but it’s a good excuse to have.

Ingredients:

- 2 bars of good quality dark chocolate (I used Lindt 85% Dark Chocolate)

- handful of roasted pistachios, roughly chopped

- handful of roasted almonds, roughly chopped

- handful of dried cranberries, roughly chopped

- sea salt

double boiler chocolate

Method:

Melt the bars of dark chocolate in a double boiler. Pour the liquid goodness onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. It will spread on its own, creating a thin layer. Generously sprinkle on the roughly chopped pistachios, almonds, and cranberries followed by a light dusting of sea salt. Let the chocolate cool for a couple of hours. To test if the bark has completely set, break off a small piece from the side, it should break the same way that a bar of chocolate would. Finally, roughly break the remaining chocolate on the cookie sheet. Store in a cool place. These also make for great gifts (wrap some in a clear, small plastic bag and tie with a ribbon or pack some in a metal tin). To make clean up easier, be sure to lick the bowl in the double boiler!

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A Reading List

A Reading List

I am always looking for recommendations for a good read. These days, my reading has been heavily concentrated on pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting, which can be . Just when I was craving a more balanced bookshelf on my tablet, BuzzFeed published their “16 Books To Read Before They Hit Theaters This Year.” Some of the titles definitely fall under the “just watch the movie” category while others seem like gripping reads. The first of these books on my reading list is The Hundred-Foot JourneyThe choice was rather obvious: the movie stars Helen Mirren and is being produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey and the themes includes restaurants, food, Indian culture, french cuisine – what more reasoning could I possibly need? Can’t wait to read the book and then watch the movie.

Second/third on list is a tie between Wild (a soul-searching journey that reminds me Eat, Pray, Love at first glance) which will star Reese Witherspoon and This Is Where I Leave You, which will star Jason Bateman and Tina Fey (the sure to be hilarious cast alone made me want to read the book). What books make your read/watch list?

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Last of 2013

Last of 2013

2013 concluded in the best way possible. The holiday season, while hectic, was full of laughter, joy, and of course, plenty of scrumptious treats. I had some downtime from work between Christmas and New Year’s, a first in my career. I wish all companies had this policy! And finally, one of my closest friends, Vanessa, visited from Spain. She moved to Barcelona after college and has been there ever since. She always comes home during Christmas and New Year’s and I eagerly await her arrival each year. I had told her about my pregnancy over Skype but this was the first time that she was able to see and feel my belly. She and our friend, Ariele threw me a very intimate surprise bridal shower consisting of a few friends with whom I do not require any sort of a filter. I was both thoroughly surprised and honored. Ariele, the resident party planning extraordinaire, really outdid herself with a selection of sweet and savory foods, complete with homemade cauliflower crust pizza (it was the first time I’d ever tried it and I was a fan after the first bite). Thank you ladies for helping end my 2013 in the sweetest way possible.

Cauliflower Pizza

Cauliflower Pizza (recipe)

The whole spread (the open board on the bottom right was for the pizza) 

The sweetest of friends

The sweetest of friends

pp bs

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NYC Grid: Then & Now

NYC Grid: Then & Now

As a child growing up in Calcutta, I never thought I would leave India. After moving to New Jersey at eight-and-a-half years old and embarking on my first couple of trips to The Big Apple, I fell in love. New York City was so much better than anything I’d ever seen in a movie or a photograph. Central Park, The Empire State Building, the MET, the bridges, I was in awe of the grandeur of it all.

I was reminded of that same wonderment when I first visited the site, NYC Grid. Creator and photographer, Paul Sahner captures different streets, buildings, moments, and anything interesting all over the city. He then aligns it alongside an image of the same place from years past. A yellow handle in the center of the image allows the viewer to scroll between the old and the new. Each image also comes paired with a mini history lesson, providing context and pointing out subtle or drastic changes. Beware: you may/will lose track of time while exploring the site.

Madison Square Park & The Flatiron Building

Madison Square Park & The Flatiron Building

Featured Image: Brooklyn Heights & Dumbo; all images from NYC Grid

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Still Here and Kicking

Still Here and Kicking

I am still here. You will have to pardon my unexplained hiatus.

I am thrilled to share that I am 22 weeks pregnant! The past couple of months have been filled with lots of joy, some nerves, and thankfully, no nausea. My health has been great minus the occasional leg cramps and heartburn (and odd dreams). The exciting news hits us in waves. On very busy days, there are times when I even tend to forget the fact that I have someone living inside of me. Doing research for our registry is both overwhelming and exciting. Eating the usual guilty pleasure foods no longer makes me feel very guilty. Clothes fit differently each week. Sleeping is not the same when you can only lay on your side. All of these things (plus many more) help make this unbelievable experience a bit less surreal.

Maithil has been amazing, I am so grateful for his unconditional support. Pregnancy hits men in a totally different way because they don’t experience the physical and emotional changes. He felt a light kick a few nights ago and his whole face lit up! He said that it made everything so much more real. Come April, life as we know it is going to change more than we can ever image – we cannot wait!

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